This post, and many of the posts to follow, were scheduled six months in advance. It’s actually late October. But I know that right around this time, I will be going to labor with my first child. Even as a newbie to the whole parenting experience, I have enough sense to know that come April, I will probably be pretty busy with a newborn, so I figured I should get the blog squared away for this month well in advance. But as of this writing, I don’t even know if it’s a boy or a girl yet.
I do know that I will screw up lots. I will get things right, and I will get things very wrong. I know that I will set goals as a parent. I will meet some, and I will fail at a lot of other things. But as a spiritual steward of this new little soul, I hope to get at least this much right.
I want my child to know that the spiritual life matters. I really don’t care what path he/she chooses. Really. I’ve walked many myself. They’re all beautiful. I wouldn’t want to tell him/her which path to take, but I do want to show them the road map. Speaking of which:
I want my child to know that when it comes to the spiritual lives of others, our job is to learn. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism—-these ancient faiths all have important lessons. They didn’t get passed down a hundred generations for no reason. I want to expose my child to every possible avenue of faith.
I want my child to respect nature and living creatures as a manifestation of god. The way you treat helpless creatures, human or animal, says more about the state of your soul than any other single barometer.
I want my child to understand that things are to be used, but not worshiped. It seems almost insurmountably difficult in our culture to teach a young mind why materialism is so corrosive to the soul. But I intend to do my best.
I want my child to recognize art as divine expression. What moves me may not be the same as what moves you. But it’s the moving that counts. Art isn’t a medium; it’s not a category. Art is not limited to dance or music or sculpture. Sometimes it’s a surf board. It’s taking any medium and creating something that can only come from a human soul. Art is the paintbrush of your divine nature. Make it beautiful.
Most importantly, I want my child to know that the more deeply he/she loves, the closer he/she will be to what some people call “God.” I think that says it all.
Here’s to high hopes. Wish me luck.